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Old 06-25-08, 11:21 AM   #1
PhotoByBike
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Distance riding in on a folder

How many of you guys do long distance trips on folders, and what kind of bikes do you do it on? (50+ mile day trips, centuries, brevets, weekend tours, etc).

My brother-in-law rides a century once a year. He said his last century (in a larger group where they could draft) averaged about 17mph. I'm doing my first 30+ mile trip this weekend on a fairly modified Downtube 9FS. Later this year I want to try my first century, and a couple of overnight trips (with stays at a campground in the middle).

Somewhere in the back of my mind I keep thinking maybe I'll want a larger wheeled road bike to do this kind of riding, but I can't help but wonder if that's because it's "conventional wisdom" handed to me since birth, or if there are really technical reasons why my bike wouldn't be as good for this kind of riding.

At any rate, a new bike isn't in my budget and I have no plans on getting rid of the 9FS, so I guess I'll see first hand this weekend how it handles on longer rides. I'm just curious to see what others are doing on theirs.
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Old 06-25-08, 11:32 AM   #2
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Smaller wheels = more road vibration = more fatigue accumulated.
And generally folding bikes are of one size so it is hard to get proper fitting.

That said, if you are fit enough there is no reason your bike wouldn't be as good for long ride.
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Old 06-25-08, 12:24 PM   #3
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counteracting these factors.

I.E more road vibration and fatigue.To counteract these factors.Add Suspension,suspension seatpost,Gel hand grips, Brooks or other sprung saddle,Big apple tires.Change the handlebars and use barends if you can.Check for these things at the Gaerlan bicycles website.

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Old 06-25-08, 12:31 PM   #4
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I've been pretty impressed by the performance of some 40-349 Greenspeed Scorcher TRs on my Tikit...fast and way more comfortable than 23-700c tires on my road bike over the same stretch of highway.

I'm not sure about brevets, but I'd be happy to ride my Tikit for normal road rides of 100kms or so if I set it up with drop bars. The flat bars with Ergon grips I have on it at the moment work well for urban riding, but for 3-5hrs rides at high speeds I'd really appreciate the better aerodynamics and multiple hand positions of some drops.

I keep thinking about a high performance Tikit in my future...hmmmm....
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Old 06-25-08, 12:32 PM   #5
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Just came back from a 450 mile trip on my Dahon Mu P8 20" wheels did well on pavement as well as fine gravel bike path. Longest day was 91 miles. Hands got a little numb from lack of variable position. If gear range is good the bike should do well on all but the steepest hills. Go for it!
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Old 06-25-08, 01:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. I have been slowly getting my bike ready for the first long ride. The bike is a 9 speed (11 - 34 / 48T) full suspension Downtube. I've changed the default handlebars and neck. I'm using a 90mm stem and a Nashbar trekking bar (I like this bar a lot), which gives a nice variety of hand positions, including gripping them from the side while climbing. I replaced the saddle with a Spiderflex, which is an all-together weird saddle, but it's growing on me quickly and doesn't require any special clothing for maximum comfort.

Other accessories include of course a bottle cage, 24oz bottle (i'll probably add another before the longer trips), delta seat post rack and quick bag, cateye computer, and Dinotte lights.

The only missing elements are fenders, which should be here next week, and I think I'm going to change out the tires. I'm leaning towards Marathon Plus, but undecided between 1.35 (for better rolling resistance) or 1.75 for a smoother ride.

Here are a few photos of the bike from last week (with the older 140mm stem). I'll post some final photos tomorrow when I re-wrap the bars and get all the accessories installed.





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Old 06-25-08, 02:27 PM   #7
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Great looking setup!
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Old 06-25-08, 05:13 PM   #8
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The only missing elements are fenders, which should be here next week, and I think I'm going to change out the tires. I'm leaning towards Marathon Plus, but undecided between 1.35 (for better rolling resistance) or 1.75 for a smoother ride.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but the fatter tyres will have lower rolling resistance.

As for road vibration, this aspect is over-emphasised, and with full suspension this is irrelevant anyway. Plus if you fit some Big Apples and pump them to 30psi, perhaps 40psi, they will give a unbeatable plush comfort while retaining low rolling resistance.

There is no reason why you can't do long times on a folder. You won't go as fast, that is all. I have done very long rides and tours on mine - see my sig. Recently, I did a 420km-in-24h brevet on my Swift, and I probably ended up less fatigued then the others in my group, judging by how they complained near the end.
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Old 06-25-08, 10:27 PM   #9
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I've been pretty impressed by the performance of some 40-349 Greenspeed Scorcher TRs on my Tikit...fast and way more comfortable than 23-700c tires on my road bike over the same stretch of highway.

I'm not sure about brevets, but I'd be happy to ride my Tikit for normal road rides of 100kms or so if I set it up with drop bars. The flat bars with Ergon grips I have on it at the moment work well for urban riding, but for 3-5hrs rides at high speeds I'd really appreciate the better aerodynamics and multiple hand positions of some drops.

I keep thinking about a high performance Tikit in my future...hmmmm....
Pocket Rocket, man. Not as convenient, but quick!
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Old 06-26-08, 10:19 AM   #10
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How many of you guys do long distance trips on folders, and what kind of bikes do you do it on? (50+ mile day trips, centuries, brevets, weekend tours, etc).
I do lots of centuries and club rides with the NWT. I did some light weekend touring with it too.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:51 AM   #11
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I did a thirty mile stint on my Curve on Saturday. I do have Ergon grips and a Brooks saddle, so the ride was very comfy. The original grips and seat would probably have been tiring.
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Old 06-26-08, 12:02 PM   #12
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I did 40 miles on my unmodified IXFS the other day - only a Brooks saddle away from standard. No problem. I'm planning to do 270 miles in a weekend, so I'm in training. It's as comfortable as any big wheel bike I've ridden, but not as fast, for reasons I'm not sure of. The riding position is more upright, and I'm getting more rolling resistance too, which might be just the tyres, but I'm really thinking about checking and greasing the wheel bearings too when I put Marathons on it.
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Old 06-26-08, 12:32 PM   #13
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I've done two fairly flat centuries (the NYC century) and regularly commute 19 miles each way in flat coastal Rhode Island on a Xootr Swift. The main modification that has increased comfort is the use of 20x1.75 Tioga Comp Pools. Also, I added bar ends and after finding the bar ends less comfortable than I like, replaced the flat bar-bar end combo with a drop bar. I haven't done comparative roll-down tests between the original 20x1.5 Kenda Quests and the Comp Pools, but when I made the change I didn't notice any change in time on my commute (in any event, slow!) and the Comp Pools are much, much more comfortable.
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Old 06-26-08, 01:29 PM   #14
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I did a lot of 40-60 mile rides on my Xootr Swift - no problems keeping up with roadie friends at all.

The longest ride I've done on my Birdie is about 40 miles, but I've only had a it a few weeks. I felt fine afterwards, so I don't think a longer ride would be a problem either.
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Old 06-26-08, 03:17 PM   #15
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I've done lots of long rides on my Swift, including a century and two tours. I did very few mods that would impact comfort, just used a racing-style saddle and Ergon grips.

Ultimately I found it didn't work out. Half of it was that the gearing was too limited for hilly rides; the other half was that any alterations to make the bike more comfortable would involve a performance hit, and the 3rd half was that I was able to finish a century on a 700c road bike feeling like I could do another 25 miles. I definitely didn't feel that way on the Swift.

So you can do it, particularly if you aren't pacelining, if your idea of "distance" is 60 miles or less, or if the roads are REALLY good & smooth in your area, or speed is not critical, or you don't need a cushy bike, or you pick up a high-end folder. Hopefully your uses may fall into some of those categories.
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Old 06-29-08, 04:58 PM   #16
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Last week I did 65, 33, 67, and 42 mile hilly rides on my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro. Some pacelining. I also did a metric century on it back in April. No problems at all.
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Old 06-29-08, 08:51 PM   #17
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I do long rides (30-50 miles) on my Birdy, no problem but I still need to get a better saddle for it.
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Old 06-29-08, 09:08 PM   #18
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This may seem counter-intuitive, but the fatter tyres will have lower rolling resistance.
I think that is only true if you have an unsuspended bike. This bike would do better with skinny, high pressure tires. (Of course, you go slower if you get more flats.)
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Old 06-29-08, 09:13 PM   #19
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I've done lots of long rides on my Swift, including a century and two tours. I did very few mods that would impact comfort, just used a racing-style saddle and Ergon grips.

Ultimately I found it didn't work out. Half of it was that the gearing was too limited for hilly rides; the other half was that any alterations to make the bike more comfortable would involve a performance hit, and the 3rd half was that I was able to finish a century on a 700c road bike feeling like I could do another 25 miles. I definitely didn't feel that way on the Swift.

So you can do it, particularly if you aren't pacelining, if your idea of "distance" is 60 miles or less, or if the roads are REALLY good & smooth in your area, or speed is not critical, or you don't need a cushy bike, or you pick up a high-end folder. Hopefully your uses may fall into some of those categories.
That's silly. First, you don't even own a folder, right? Second, rolling resist. debates aside, they are unquestionably faster in pacelines. You get much closer to the rider in front of you. My Birdy is a beast in pacelines.
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Old 06-30-08, 04:10 AM   #20
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Smaller wheels = more road vibration = more fatigue accumulated.
And generally folding bikes are of one size so it is hard to get proper fitting.

That said, if you are fit enough there is no reason your bike wouldn't be as good for long ride.
A lot of statements like the above seems to be written by those who have not seen or ridden a quality "folder".
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Old 06-30-08, 04:28 AM   #21
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Long distance to me , means a couple hundred miles. I find riding long distances in the drops comfortable. / The reason for folders, convenience on airplanes and riding about some town you might be visiting. Short term stuff. Could you possibly find them adaptable to a multipable day tours and heading out to a different cities the following night.
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Old 06-30-08, 04:33 AM   #22
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Dont underestimate touring on foldies. We just did a 115km one day ride across the Malaysian mountain ranges last week. Its a bit slower than a tourer (I have a Surly LHT) but very doable. Some instances, the only way is via a folder.

My friend Paul did this crazy ride on a very humble Dahon Curve D3, another friend on a Birdy while I was on a Speed 8. Check out the story:

http://lovethefold.blogspot.com/2008...-commuter.html



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Old 06-30-08, 04:44 AM   #23
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Long distance to me , means a couple hundred miles. I find riding long distances in the drops comfortable........
Which is why I ride a Bike Friday Air Glide.....




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/ The reason for folders, convenience on airplanes and riding about some town you might be visiting. Short term stuff. Could you possibly find them adaptable to a multipable day tours and heading out to a different cities the following
Yes..... the right one is more than adaptable to multiday tours.........which is why I use my Bike Friday Air Glide.
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Old 06-30-08, 04:46 AM   #24
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Oldies. Cool. The Malay highlands. We have a nephew who lives in Singapore. He took us to a country house up near Tana Rata. We saw some pretty impressive climbs. And it was so much cooler up there. A problem, sleeping with monkeys scampering across your roof at night. / Wish I had had a bike up there. //
But, about folders. The geomerty just does not look like my touring bike. I am quite comfortable on it. Plus I hate backpacks. / I should just get on one and give it a try.
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Old 06-30-08, 04:48 AM   #25
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Which is why I ride a Bike Friday Air Glide.....






Yes..... the right one is more than adaptable to multiday tours.........which is why I use my Bike Friday Air Glide.
Thanks. I will do some googling and try to be a little less prejudiced.
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